News / Africa

EU Pledges Funds to Combat Cocaine Smuggling in West Africa

More than $20 million pledged to combat trafficking of Latin American cocaine bound for Europe

TEXT SIZE - +

The European Union is funding new efforts to combat Latin American cocaine trafficking in West Africa.

More than $20 million in European Union financing is uniting Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Cape Verde, Guinea, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau to combat the trafficking of Latin American cocaine bound for Europe.

The EU's new "Dakar Initiative" is meant to fund interdiction measures announced two years ago.

Last November, a Boeing 727 from Venezuela landed in the desert of northern Mali with a shipment of cocaine.  Drug enforcement officials say shipments are then broken up into smaller packages for smugglers to carry north across the Sahara through some areas controlled by an al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist group that is active in Mali, Niger, and Mauritania.

Other cocaine shipments from Latin America arrive on West Africa's coast where they are smuggled to Europe by sea.  Nowhere is that destabilizing influence more pronounced than in Guinea Bissau where drug gangs use dirt airstrips on offshore islands.

Mahamane Toure directs political affairs for the regional Economic Community of West African States.

"The police, the justice system, and the prison system with the threat of the drugs have been almost reduced to nil [nothing].  They do not have any capacity.  They need to be building capacity to have vehicles, telecommunications systems, to organize training to be able at least to tackle the issue of the drug barons who are roaming everywhere in the region now," Toure said.

As law enforcement officials pay closer attention to smuggling routes, some drug gangs are working to increase production inside West Africa.

Sa'id Djinnit heads the U.N. office for West Africa:

"Drug trafficking is still going on.  And there are indications that now they are trying to establish themselves in the region to produce drugs in the sub-region.  And also to encourage the consumption of the cheapest kinds of drugs in the sub-region," Djinnit said.

Law enforcement officials in Guinea last year uncovered seven storage sites for chemicals that could be used to refine narcotics.  If those products were used to make the drug ecstasy, the United Nations says its market value would be more than $180 million.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid